Gonzalez sparks Newsome's rally
LITHIA - Prior to the whistle to start the first overtime in Tuesday's Class 5A-Region 2 semifinal between Plant City and Newsome, Wolves coach Neal Rickmers got the attention of Raiders coach Stephen Rossiter and simply shook his head and said, "Great game." Rossiter responded: "Win or lose - amazing." Simply - but accurately - stated by both coaches. The tough, physical match ended in the second overtime with Newsome forward Steven Gonzalez notching his second straight hat trick in the 93rd minute as the Wolves rallied for a 4-3 victory. The goal came on a clean-up effort in the box after a header from Armani Alicea was turned away."I thought we were definitely going to penalty kicks," Gonzalez said. "But this was my senior year so I knew I had to do everything to get us to that final." Plant City struck first in the 37th minute when Esgar Montelongo sent a cross to Alan Black, who flicked it in. The Wolves quickly responded before the half on a 35-yard free kick from Gonzalez. Plant City stretched the lead to 3-1 on two goals from Montelongo, the first a header on a pass from Kendall Aguilar and the second on a through ball from Dragan Jovanski. Gonzalez cut the lead in the 63rd minute, and Harold Gussman tied the match for the Wolves on a shot that bounced over a sliding Raiders keeper Christopher Sullivan. "They really handed it to us at the start," Sullivan said. "And we said to ourselves, 'We really need to pick our heads up and start playing soccer,' and that is what we did."